An unprecedented global survey of marine sponges – the most ancient multicellular lifeforms on Earth— has revealed they make a massive contribution to the total microbial diversity of the world’s oceans.
Microbes may be tiny, but their huge number and diversity mean they can be used to identify environmental impacts early, potentially limiting greater harm to larger organisms, write Katherine Dafforn, Emma Johnston, Inke Falkner and Melanie Sun.
Decades of heavy industry have resulted in extreme levels of pollution in our waterways. UNSW Associate Professor Mike Manefield and his team have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria that literally breathes away these pollutants.
UNSW scientists hope to unlock the secrets of millions of marine microbes with the help of an international team of volunteers sharing their spare computer capacity to create a research “supercomputer”.
Scientists on a UNSW-led expedition to study microbes in the Indian Ocean have weathered huge seas, encountered giant whales and collected lots of data during the first leg of their voyage from South Africa to Mauritius.